Coordinate Tradition

About HWS

Coordinate Report and Policy

April 26, 2019

Dear President McGuire,

After extensive research, interviews and listening sessions with faculty, staff, students, alumni and alumnae, the Student Experience Committee of the Board of Trustees submitted a series of recommendations to the full Board of Trustees making changes to Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ coordinate system. After thoughtful debate, the Board of Trustees approved the following as policy for the Colleges going forward.

Sincerely Submitted,

Thomas S. Bozzuto L.H.D. ’18

Thomas S. Bozzuto L.H.D. ’18
Chair, Board of Trustees

Report on Contemporizing the Colleges’ Coordinate System1

Since the “Culture of Respect” report was published in 2015 recommending that the Colleges’ coordinate structure be contemporized to meet the needs of 21st century students, the Colleges have heard from many members of the HWS community who have expressed their views with passion and enthusiasm. Although the sentiments voiced have often differed, what connects all reflections is the sincere desire to ensure that students have an educational environment in which they can thrive.

On October 20, 2018, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees unanimously passed the following resolution:

“The Board of Trustees is committed to the coordinate heritage and mission of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. We recognize that historic structures, policies and procedures must meet the needs of all students and therefore ask the Student Experience Committee, working with Interim President McGuire and the greater campus community, to create specific recommendations that will adapt our coordinate construct to ensure that all students are welcomed and supported throughout their Hobart and William Smith education. We ask that these recommendations be prepared by the April 2019 Board Meeting.”

The Student Experience Committee, believing that the best recommendations to evolve the coordinate construct would emerge directly from the members of the Hobart and William Smith community, conducted an open inquiry intended to generate thoughtful recommendations that will achieve the goals set out by the Board of Trustees.

Over the next six months, the Student Experience Committee listened closely to the broad array of voices that exist around this issue including those from students, faculty, staff, alumni, alumnae and parents. Through on-campus sessions and online surveys, we identified the broad continuum of perspectives and curated prevailing themes and innovative ideas that have the potential to evolve the coordinate construct. All of this work was done while honoring the spirit of the Colleges’ rich history and focusing on how we can best serve current and future students, staff and faculty.

This thoughtful and strategic document with actionable, incremental suggestions will allow the Colleges to turn toward the future with confidence, better able to serve all members of our community.

Below are our recommendations, split between those we believe can be achieved in the near and longer term, for how to honor the spirit of the Colleges’ rich history while making the coordinate system relevant to current and future students, faculty and staff.

Near Term

  • All new members of the HWS community – students, faculty, staff, parents, and vendors – should learn about the coordinate college system, its tradition and importance to the Colleges.
    • Students should have experiences, starting with orientation and throughout their college lives, which reinforce the coordinate tradition.
    • The Office of Human Resources, Communications, Deans Offices, and other key offices should provide consistent orientation and training to all HWS constituents, specifically to the history, use of the brand (how employees answer questions of where they work and how it’s distinctive) and the Colleges’ core values.
  • Provide an option, at the earliest possible time, for a student or alum to receive a diploma from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Students would have three diploma options: Hobart, William Smith, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
  • Highlight our long-time commitment to equality through assuring gender diversity on student, campus and faculty committees and leadership roles.
  • Create a speaker series, coordinated and led by the Hobart and William Smith Dean’s offices, that discusses the role of gender, in all of its many forms, in the lives of our students, alums and community members.
  • Have mixed Hobart and William Smith seating at all future HWS commencement ceremonies.
  • Emphasize the importance of the student government associations – William Smith Congress and Hobart Student Government – in the ways in which they represent their specific constituencies and the ways in which they work together to improve the experience at the Colleges for all students.
  • Reimagine orientation to be more inclusive of all incoming students to include one orientation tent where all new students receive materials about all things HWS. Students are exposed to a unified system of coordinate values and are able to receive information at tables in a manner in which they feel comfortable.
  • All members of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ community should be encouraged to participate in the important traditions and events including (but not limited to) Founder’s Day, Celebrating Excellence, Benjamin Hale Dinner, Charter Day, Moving Up Day, Launch, William Smith Toast as critical events that connect all community members with our history and the lived experience of gender in our contemporary world.
  • Provide an option to any alum to receive, or have sent to an employer or graduate school, a transcript that reads Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
  • Identify and initiate ways to make gender inclusiveness explicit on campus, especially in terms of Admissions, the Dean’s offices, and the website.   Create clear and positive messaging regarding the ways in which both Hobart and William Smith are open to students who identify as transgender and gender-diverse. Where possible, printed and online school materials may be updated to use non-gendered language (for example, “students/ scholars/etc. of Hobart and William Smith” instead of “men/ women of Hobart and William Smith”).
  • Develop and execute a plan to communicate the availability of the Deans to all of the students not just Hobart Deans for men and William Smith Deans for women. Additionally, expand advertising – on the website and in communications with students – that any student can ask to work with any of the Deans.
  • Undertake a full review of all forms used at the Colleges to identify where gender identity is relevant and revise forms where it is not.
  • Create a LGBQT+ alumni group, similar in structure and operation to ALAA.
  • Provide only the full institutional name – Hobart and William Smith Colleges – to all standardized exam websites, online and print lists of colleges and universities, etc.
  • Authorize the Student Experience Committee to continue to explore how the Colleges can more effectively draw on our rich and complex history, as well as reevaluate traditions that enforce an outdated gender binary.

Longer Term

  • Continue plans for single-stall, gender-neutral, and ADA-compliant bathrooms with shower in every residence hall, and single-stall, gender-neutral and ADA-compliant bathroom in all campus buildings. Until these bathrooms are ready, and as soon as is feasible, designate gender neutral bathroom facilities that students can reasonably access in key campus buildings.
  • Faculty, HWS Office of Human Relations and other key campus offices will have the opportunity to develop inclusive practices. The president will recommend guidelines and a process for providing resources, professional development, ongoing training and orientation for faculty and staff with respect to issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity among the student body.
  • Create a new, single HWS Dean’s list for which students from either Hobart or William Smith can be nominated or qualify.

These recommendations are made as a part of an ongoing conversation and examination of the coordinate construct and how it manifests at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Submitted by the Student Experience Committee of the Board of Trustees of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Friday, April 5, 2019

Edward R. Cooper ’86, P’16, Chair
Dr. Richard Wasserman ‘70, Vice Chair
Frank V. Aloise ’87
Linda D. Arrington ’88
Cassandra Naylor Brooks ’89
Dr. Stephen L. Cohen ’67
Dr. Jeremy T. Cushman ’96
Roy Dexheimer ’55, P’86, GP’18, LL.D. ’80
Jane M. Erickson ’07
Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk ’98
Gail Herman McGinn ’73
Dr. Deborah S. Pilla ’76
The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
Christopher S. Welles ’84, P’12, P’15
William T. Whitaker, Jr. ’73, L.H.D. ’97;
Edens D. Fleurizard ’20
Gianna Gonzalez ’20
Gavin R. Gross ’19
Caitlin E. Lasher ’19;
Vice President for Campus Life Robb Flowers
Dean of Hobart College Khuram Hussain
Dean of William Smith College Lisa Kaenzig P’22
Provost and Dean of Faculty DeWayne Lucas
Associate Professor of Chemistry Christine de Denus P’22, Chair, Committee on Academic Affairs, ex officio
Associate Professor of Political Science Vikash Yadav, Chair, Committee on Faculty, ex officio
Interim President Patrick McGuire, ex officio

[1] Accepted and adopted by resolution of the Board of Trustees on April 5, 2019.